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Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 14, 2019

A different type of writerAs I complete this collection of articles from around the web this week, our 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference is underway in Philadelphia. Over the next couple of days, authors from different disciplines, backgrounds, and geographic regions will come together to discuss topics of common interest, each with a common goal of becoming a more successful author.

This week’s collection includes some ideas that face most, if not all, of this diverse group, including writer’s block, thesis statements, data visualization, authorship, and author contribution. It also contains articles on specific issues facing subsets of our collective authoring community, including work/life balance for PhD students, diversity factors in awards and recognition, and open source initiatives and funding.

No matter the differences among us, and whether you are here in Philly with us this weekend or part of our larger authoring community, know that you are not alone. Take comfort in the things that we share and that are shared with us. Happy writing!

Ten ways to unstick your writing

Regular readers know I have little time for the concept of writer’s block, where people allegedly find themselves unable to write for days, weeks, months, even years. However, I do understand that writers sometimes get stuck. This is a temporary affliction, but an annoying one, which can cost us valuable minutes or hours. So I thought it might be helpful to share ten strategies I have adopted and/or developed over the years to keep my writing flowing.

A thesis (often) needs a big idea

A good (social science, arts and humanities and some sciences) thesis depends on you finding your Big Idea. The one sentence which sums up what it is that you think you now know that you didn’t when you started. The one sentence that lets you construct the chapters and say what they add up to.

About data visualizations: Line graphs

Collecting, analyzing, and reporting with data can be daunting. The person that SAGE Publishing — the parent of MethodSpace — turns to when it has questions is Diana Aleman – editor extraordinaire for SAGE Stats and U.S. Political Stats. And now she is bringing her trials, tribulations, and expertise with data to you in this blog, Tips with Diana.

A new framework of dynamic authorship

In an academic publishing environment that does not require publishers to compensate contributors for their knowledge and output, or to provide an authentically supportive framework for scholars to exercise ownership of their work, what recourse does an author have to dynamic scholarly revision of their work?

Author contributions on papers

I recently ran a poll on Twitter on author contribution sections on papers. For me, adding such a section is rather “new”, but I do feel like this is important to avoid people getting “free rides”. Certainly, authorship is a blurry topic, and for me, it sometimes feels even more complex because of the barrier some of my colleagues may experience for writing in English. By all means, I learned from this poll that most respondents find such a section “very important” – so I’ll be paying more attention to this topic and propose to always include this information for the journal I manage.

The #PhDweekend

Any PhD student worth their salt will tell you that #PhDchat is just about the loveliest place on twitter—on #PhDchat, people are supportive, friendly, generous with advice and celebrate one another’s achievements (what is this, some kind of parallel twitterverse?). But, despite all this, there is a part of #PhDchat that makes me sad: the #PhDweekend thread.

When white scholars pick white scholars

Communication scholars debate how the field’s distinguished scholars should be picked going forward, in the interest of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Invest in Open Infrastructure: An interview with Dan Whaley

Several of the foremost enterprises in this open source arena recently joined forces with a group of universities that direct funding to open source projects to call for greater resources to be invested in support. This Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) initiative, though nascent, may be the best hope to date of some kind of common collective action. To learn more about this initiative and some of its future plans, I interviewed Dan Whaley, the CEO of open source annotation initiative, who is one of IOI’s leaders.